Meet Our Talented Teaching Team

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Jolene McPherson Jolene has studied dance since she was 4 and has been teaching dance for the past 25 years. Top universities, professional dance companies, and other performing arts organizations have accepted many of her students. She has received numerous awards including Judge’s Awards, Choreography Awards, Costume Choice Awards, and several Certificates of Recognition from Dance Teacher Magazine and has served as a regional competition judge. She was the feature subject in the former Cleveland arts scene magazine “Blu-ize Magazine” which highlighted her contribution and dedication to the arts. Her dynamic choreography has been showcased in her involvement with show choirs, musicals, competition groups, students and synchronized swim teams. For the past 15 years, she has been the assistant director/choreographer for the Miss Greater Cleveland Scholarship Program, a preliminary to Miss Ohio of the Miss America Scholarship Program. She also has served as a choreographer for 7 counties of the Ohio Junior Miss Scholarship Program.

Dance training includes classes and residencies in Chicago, New York City and throughout the Cleveland area. Among these are Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, NYC Tap City, Tradition in Tap, School of Cleveland/San Jose Ballet, Cleveland City Dance and Dance by Gloria. This included classes with such greats as the late legendary Frank Hatchett, Finis Jhung, Randy Skinner (Broadway Choreographer - 42nd Street, White Christmas), Bob Audy, Bebe Neuwirth(Fosse Technique), Ann Reinking, Avi Miller, Ofer Ben, Professor Robert Reed, Diane Walker, the late Dr. Harold Cromer, the late Gus Giordano, Brenda Bufalino, Karen Calloway-Williams, Rob Ashford (Broadway Choreographer - Kiss Me Kate, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Boys From Syracuse), the late David Howard, Mia Michaels, Andy Blankenbueler, and the legendary Silver Belles.

Mime studies took place at Kenyon College with Alithea Mime Theater under C. Nicholas Johnson of Wichita State University, as well as Beyond the Word seminar with the internationally acclaimed Stefan Niedzialkowski of the Warsaw Mime Theater, Studio Mimow and teacher at Corporeal Mime at Marcel Marceas’s L’Ecole Internationale de Mimodrome de Paris.

Theatrical training includes Second City TV and Creative Acting School formerly in NYC. Jolene has appeared on local, regional, touring and NYC stages. Some favorite roles include A Chorus Line (Cassie), Oliver (Nancy), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Mrs. Meers), Nine (Liliane LaFleur), The Sound of Music (Elsa), Annie (Lily), Chicago (Hunyak), and Cats (Jennyanydots).

Jolene has directed and choreographed numerous musicals including, but not limited to, Music Man, Annie, Oliver, West Side Story, World Goes Round, Oklahoma, Wizard of Oz, Les Miserable, Titanic, Cinderella, Seussical and 101 Dalmatians. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Brecksville Theater on the Square and has worked tirelessly on many of their productions. She is also a trained vocalist having studied in Cleveland and New York.

Jolene is a graduate of The Ohio State University with degrees in Elementary Education and Dental Hygiene (B.S., B.A). She is a member of the International Tap Association, National Dance Educators Association, and is an Actors Equity Candidate.

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Bridget Biliunas was formally trained in Russian Classical Ballet by Cleveland ballet teachers Marguerite Duncan and Nancy Arcury and danced in their company, Northcoast Ballet Theatre from 1990 to 1998. While at their studio, she accompanied children’s ballet classes and student-taught under Sonja Kraljevic. She later studied and danced with Margaret Holden at Cleveland Dance Theater and studied with Kay Eichman of The Cleveland Ballet. She has attended dance and science somatic seminars in Cleveland, Chicago, New York City’s Broadway Dance Center and participated in Food For Thought, an emergent choreography program. Bridget has performed at the Cleveland Playhouse, The Masonic Temple, Cleveland’s Palace Theater, various emerging choreographer showcases, and Tower City Productions. Bridget also has a strong folk dance background. She has danced with Serena Polish Folk Group and Gorale Polish Folk Dancers, appearing in local televised holiday showcases. From 2001 to 2003, she was co-artistic director of Grandinele Lithuanian Folk Assemble and choreographed dances for its 50th Jubilee performance in the spring of 2003.
She taught accredited ballet classes at Lakeland Community College and presently teaches ballet at Cleveland City Dance.
In competition, Bridget’s choreography was awarded Best Showmanship at the Tremaine Dance Competition.
Her former students have danced and performed with Pittsburg Ballet, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Greensboro Ballet, and the National American Miss Pageant.
Bridget holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.

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James Burkes. Dancing became James "Showtime" Burkes' love and passion in the year of 2003 entering a National Competition called "You Got Served" in Cleveland, OH. Shortly after, James became a member of the first official Cleveland Cavaliers Hip-Hop Dance Team known as the "Scream Team". Four years of NBA fun and love included traveling around the country promoting dance as well as the Cavs, including visits to New Orleans. James was also a part of the Dance Team invited to perform internationally in China as part of a more exclusive NBA dance team. As James grew to become a part of the best game entertainment of the year in 08-09', he also performed at the NBA All-Stars Game and Celebrity Games within that same year. James has personally progressed since his time with the NBA and has competed nationally in Orlando, FL earning him a first place trophy and honorable mention. James also spreads his love of dance and knowledge through teaching as a dance instructor for numerous competitive studios across Northeastern Ohio. James spreads this love and knowledge of dance that he has accumulated throughout the years supported by additional training from many gymnasts, nationally acclaimed breakdance instructors, tap and ballet instructors and has quickly reformed himself into an entrepreneur of dance and entertainment. James currently works with a production team known as "Rock the House" and was awarded "Dancer of the Year" in 2013. James is also a DJ/Emcee and a professional choreographer and has worked with nationally accredited colleges, universities and studios offering his expertise in performance and in style. As James continues to excite his audiences, engage his students and create an atmosphere filled with life, laughter and love, he continually affects and creates lasting memories throughout all walks of his life and within his professional career. Feel free to contact him

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Mackenzie Cunningham has an extensive background in ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, ballroom, acrobatics, modern, contemporary ballet, character dance, tap, and musical theatre. She began studying ballet at The School of Cleveland SanJose Ballet. She received pre-professional ballet training in classical Vaganova ballet method at the Ohio Conservatory of Ballet from instructors Inna Stabrova and Dmitry Tuboltsev, and furthered her training through summer intensives at The Joffrey Ballet School in NYC and The Kirov Academy of Ballet in DC. Mackenzie was invited to intern with Verb Ballets where she danced in Hernando Cortez's Yellow River. In college, she was the recipient of the University of Akron dance scholarship and the 1st place recipient of the 2011 Dance Masters of Ohio college scholarship. Mackenzie was also featured in a principal role in the UA Dance Company dancing a pas de deux in Erich Yetter's Piano Pieces.
Mackenzie's dance background extends beyond ballet as she was also a professional NBA dancer as a Cleveland Cavalier Girl and a professional AHL dancer as a Monster Hockey Girl. She has taught ballet, pointe, acro, jazz, hip hop, and ballet for figure skaters, choreographed for show choirs, and taught for Arts in Strongsville summer camps. Mackenzie has performed lead roles in community productions of Cinderella (Cinderella), Nutcracker (Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian lead), Sound of Music (Leisl), and Singin in the Rain (dance soloist). She is the current Flag Corps advisor for Parma Sr. High School. She holds a B.A. in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology and a minor in Dance from the University of Akron where she graduated summa sum laude. Mackenzie is currently earning an M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from Kent State University.

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Serena DiGeronimo started dancing in 1996 as part of her gymnastics training. In 2001 she began her technical dance training at Dance by Gloria studying ballet, lyrical, jazz, and hip hop. She was also as member of the competitive DBG Junior and Senior Performing Groups. In addition to dancing at DBG, she was a member of the Varsity Honeybees Dance Team and Varsity Cheerleading Squad at Brecksville Broadview Heights High School. She was named a National Cheerleading Association All-American Cheerleader and fulfilled the role as captain for both the Varsity Dance Team and Cheerleading Squad. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from John Carroll University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a major in Marketing. She spent three years on John Carroll University’s Dance Team and has taught jazz and hip-hop for two years at Dance By Gloria. She feels it is truly a blessing to teach with many of the wonderful and talented dance educators from which she learned and is excited to continue with Interpretations Dance Academy.

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Sarah Eash has trained throughout Northeast Ohio with many well-respected teachers. She studied pre-professional ballet under the tutorage of Denise Gula at The Ohio Dance Theatre where she was showcased in 5 different roles for The Nutcracker. She has also studied under Margaret Holden. She also has had the privilege of dancing the lead role with the Northern Classical Ballet’s production of Cinderella, at Disney World with Alice and the Mad Hatter. As a well-rounded former competitive dancer she has won numerous top awards including National Dance Champion for Chicago Star Systems, Dance Master of Ohio Title 6th Runner-up, 3rd in Interview, and overall Talent Winner at Miss Ohio’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Program. She was the ballet instructor for North Olmsted’s Summer Ice Skating Intensive, and assisted at Ohio Dance Theatre. She attended Cecchetti Council Ballet School for 2 years on scholarship, and at Broadway Dance Center in New York City, also on scholarship. She is currently attending John Carroll University.

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Drea Gold was an active 3 year old when her parents signed her up for her first dance class. It was a simple act that sparked her lifelong love of dance and performing. Most of Drea’s early training in ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, and tap was at the Dayton Ballet School and Pontecorvo Ballet Studio. In college she graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Akron’s Honors College with a BFA in Dance with a Musical Theatre concentration. Drea also obtained her Masters in Management from Ursuline College. She has performed in over 100 musicals regionally with her favorites including Cats (Cassandra/Griddlebone), Into the Woods (Baker’s Wife), West Side Story (Consuelo), Jekyll & Hyde (Chorus), and Pippin (Chorus/Understudy Fastrada). Teaching and choreographing experience started 20 years ago and includes show choirs, modeling, runway shows, musicals, and classes in ballet, pointe, and musical theatre/Broadway. Drea is a member of the Board of Directors for The Movement Project. Some of her students have gone on to work in LA, New York, Florida, and on the 2015 Fifth Harmony tour. She is grateful and honored to be a part of the Interpretations teaching team. Drea believes the way to a happy life is to find your passions and follow them. You never know what life has in store for you unless you try!

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Shawna Hicks is a 2008 Magna Cum Laude graduate of University of Akron, with a Early Childhood Education and a Minor in Dance Performance. Shawna has also co-choreographed for the BBHHS show choir for 7 years. She is accomplished in jazz, tap, ballet and pointe. She has trained here at Dance by Gloria, studied in New York City at The Broadway Dance Center, American Tap Dance Association, Camp Broadway – CAP 21, Tap City and Traditions in Tap, receiving a certificate of recognition from Dance Teacher Magazine. She appeared at the 42nd Street Studios in NYC in a tap showcase and was a featured performer in The Eastern Michigan University Repertoire.

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Samantha Kost began dancing at age 4 and hasn't stopped since. She competed in the areas of contemporary, jazz, tap and hip hop and trained in ballet and conditioning classes. Throughout the years she has won numerous awards and scholarships including Kar Kid and Hall of Fame All-Star Dancer. She has had the opportunity to study under the most sought after choreographers including: Sonya Tayeh,Travis Wall, Justin Giles, Chris Dupre, Mandy Moore, Andres Fuentes, Leslie Scott, Joey Tarwater, Leslie Farmer and Erica Sobol. She currently attends the University of Akron and will graduate in December of 2013 with a major in Exercise Science(concentration on Strength and Conditioning) and a minor in Dance. She feels blessed to have the opportunity to do what she has such a passion for and feels privileged to work with such talented dancers.

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Rachelle Kucharski has been dancing since 1998 and she quickly developed a passion for dance and the serenity it brings her. She began her teaching experience as a student teacher and has been teaching since 2004. Rachelle is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace University class of 2007 with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Marketing and Psychology, and Dance. She continued her education and in 2010 recieved her MBA in Human Resources. While going to school, Rachelle continued dancing and taught at Dance by Gloria. She was also the coordinator and dance instructor for the Middleburg Heights Recreation Center, a member of the Urban Dance Association through Baldwin Wallace, the dance educator for the North Royalton Saturday Enrichment Program, and was proud to be an original member of Dance by Gloria's first Tap Performing Group. Rachelle is currently employed at The Alpha Group Agency as a Human Resources Administrator and continues to advance her own dance education in the evenings.

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Kristyn Lein is currently working on finishing her BFA in dance performance and choreography and also majoring in social work at Ohio University. She continues to be selected to perform in many faculty and student works at OU. After graduating college, she plans to pursue a dance career by auditioning for dance companies around the country. Kristyn is thrilled to be back at her home studio where she was a competitive dancer and won many top awards. She served as Co- Captain of the Senior and Junior Performing Groups.

"Dance by Gloria definitely helped me to pursue my dreams of dancing in college and hopefully professionally in the long run. I would not be where I am today without the wonderful staff. Everyone I grew up with there has supported me through everything I do. The studio provides a positive learning experience all while teaching proper technique"

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Abby McPherson Abby McPherson started her dancing career at Dance… By Gloria at the age of four. She was a member of the competitive Junior and Senior Performing Groups, and was named captain for both groups. She was also a member of the Tap Performing Group, a four-year member and one-year captain of the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Honeybees Dance Team. As a scholarship recipient she attended a dance intensive in New York City sponsored by NYLA Dance Competition and Conventions. Abby graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh with Bachelor of Science degrees in Biological Sciences and History and Philosophy of Science, where she also continued her studies in ballet. She was a four-year member and two-year Executive Board member of the Pitt Ballet Club. Abby produced, choreographed, and performed in variety showcases and the ballets Alice in Wonderland and The Nutcracker. Continuing her education, she is currently attending Kent State University’s Accelerated BSN program. Dancing has always been a fun way for Abby to manage the stress of school, stay healthy, and make life-long friends. She is extremely excited to be back in her hometown and be a member of the Interpretations Dance Academy family!

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Halle Means is from Brecksville, Ohio and began her dance training at Dance…By Gloria in 1995. From ’95-’09 she was technically trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and hip-hop. During her time at the studio she was also a member of the Junior and Senior competitive Performing Groups. In addition to DBG, she was on the Varsity cheerleading and dance teams at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School and
held captain positions on each team. She was named an All-American by the
National Cheerleading Association twice during high school.

Halle attended Baldwin Wallace University where she majored in Business and Marketing, and was a member of the Cheerleading team all 4 years and captain senior year. During her junior and senior year she also danced for the Cleveland Gladiators AFL dance team; the Goddesses. Directly following that season she was chosen to represent Cleveland on the “Dream Team” at the AFL Arena Bowl. Halle then became a
member of the Cleveland Cavalier Girls NBA dance team. In the summer of 2014 she
spent time as a back-up dancer for Lance Bass from NSYNC. Her training continues as she also coaches/teaches various dance, cheerleading and fitness classes.

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Grace Nicklos is a dancer, educator, choreographer, and certified Pilates instructor with her BFA in Dance from Ohio University. While studying at OU, she performed in various student, faculty, and guest artist works, as well as showcased her own original work. Grace has choreographed for several youth Theater programs in the North East Ohio Area, and in 2014 she choreographed various opera scenes for the Opera Program at Ohio University’s School of Music. From 2014-2016 Grace served as a therapeutic movement instructor at Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and a dance teacher at Factory Street Studio, in Athens, Ohio. In 2015 Grace had the pleasure of working for The Center For Arts Inspired Learning, in Cleveland as The Master Teaching Artist for the summer dance co-op in their program ArtWorks. Currently, Grace teaches Pilates and dance in Northeast Ohio, and is a company member and dance educator with The Movement Project, a modern dance company out of Cleveland, Ohio.

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Kathy Satow has been dancing and instructing at Dance by Gloria for twenty years and is an award winning choreographer for the Junior Performing Group. She has taught many styles of dance from lyrical to hip-hop. In addition to instructing at the studio, Kathy has been a teacher in the Parma System Schools system for ten years and was the Normandy Dazzler coach for 13 years. She resides in Brunswick with her husband and two daughters.

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Julie Sneltzer has been studying ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical & hip hop styles of dances for 25 years. She has been a choreographer/instructor for 15 years. Julie was a member of the International Hockey League Cleveland Lumberjacks dance team. She was the founder of the Cleveland Barons American Hockey League Zambunnies dance team where she was also the choreographer and a performer. She has choreographed many award winning dances for the Dance...By Gloria performing Group which were competed at many prestigious dance competitions. In 2012 she received the best overall Choreography out of 436 dances. Julie has also been training/instructing in all ballroom styles of dance for 3 years as well as choreographing for weddings. She has also choreographed for numerous events. Northcoast 99, Baldwin Wallace College Dance Team, Brecksville/Broadview Heights 5th grade Variety Show, High School Dance Teams, just to name a few.

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Jesse Sumers holds a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Ohio University. She has taught at numerous studios throughout Ohio, California, and Illinois throughout the past 20 years. Jesse specializes in lyrical, ballet, contemporary, jazz, and modern. She is the director of the Axis Competition Team in Chicago, Illinois. Her work has led this jazz and contemporary company to numerous choreography and specialty awards throughout their seasons together. Jesse is a passionate and warm teacher who loves challenging and nurturing young dancers to be their absolute best.